A white suspect in blackface who authorities say is trying to rob a Wells Fargo in Corona, Calif., on Aug. 18, 2017. (FBI)

So, blackface is clearly offensive. Not only when it’s used for “play” (e.g., ignorant college students putting on darkie makeup to dress up like they’re from the hood for Halloween), but also for “work”—like the work of a white bank robber.

Beyond being offensive, using blackface in this context could be downright dangerous. The reason? If police believe a black man “did it,” lots of innocents will be harassed and possibly hurt if police go balls out in search of an armed black bank robber.


But, hell, “Blame the black guy” has worked for years (the reasoning behind hundreds of lynchings), and so, according to authorities, a white suspect went with it when he tried to rob a bank in Corona, Calif., this summer.

Police arrested 40-year-old Jarred Schmittle last week in the Aug. 18 Wells Fargo bank robbery.

The East Bay Times reports that a silent alarm was triggered after a suspect made his move in a beanie and blackface.


But he was fooling no one. The EBT reports:

Investigators learned a white man, “with obvious dark makeup to disguise his appearance,” had given a teller a note that demanded money, officials said. The man also told the teller he had a gun.

After waiting for a few seconds, the man, later identified as Schmittle, ran off without getting any money, sheriff’s officials said.

The man’s identity remained unknown until Nov. 1, when new leads led investigators to Schmittle’s home, according to the sheriff’s statement.


Ignorant and dumb. Or, in the words of Fred G. Sanford, “You big dummy!”

Fred G. Sanford dummy reel

Read more at the East Bay Times.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Deputy Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

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